Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can harm me not! If ever there was a lie from the pit of hell, this is it! The Word of God is very clear about the creative power of our words. God spoke the world into being and we can likewise build up or tear down with our words. Often, in the very noble pursuit of being transparent, we go just a little bit too far and share just a little bit too much. I am not even referring to the blatant lies, gossip and slander people spout. Even with the best intentions we can “over share” and cause wounds that take some time to scab over.
If you are finding yourself in a season where you are nursing some wounds cause be false accusations, gossip, slander or even just the unkind words of someone who totally does not get you, I would like to encourage you from the Word. If you are suffering these things because you are so sold out for Jesus, that your normal Christian walk seems so abnormal to other Christians, that you are so passionate and on fire, that your very presence make other people seems cold and distant, here goes… I have to issue a warning though, the news gets worse before it gets better (wink, wink).
Matthew 5 is home to Jesus’ most famous sermon – the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes, as it is also known. Some of these are more “famous” than others…probably because they are easier on the ear. For example, verse 4 “Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” (AMP)
But then we get to more troublesome verses, for example verses 10 – 12.
10 Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
11 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
12 Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you. (AMP)
I know I want to be blessed and happy, enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous. I really, really want God’s favor and salvation, all day, every day. I want more than anything to see His “kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”. There is a catch though – I realize I have to be able to suffer the injustice of persecution for His sake. Are we not exceedingly blessed in the west that persecution only comes in the form of careless words, maybe being overlooked for an invitation to the latest birthday party or that promotion, or at worst, having swear words fired at our heads. Let us hold fast to Jesus, knowing His words are spirit and truth. Let us pray for those who spitefully use us, those who gossip and slander and most of all, let us remember our brothers and sisters who pay a much higher price for the kingdom of heaven.
I want to encourage you to NOT shrink back, to keep going, to fuel the fiery passion in your heart, to keep pressing on, regardless. Jesus is encouraging us today with these words: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”(Matt 5:16 AMP)